My name is Diamond Curtis, and I am a student at the illustrious Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School. On our first day of school this year, we had the pleasure of meeting Cori Bush, a former student at Ritter who is running for U.S. Congress in Missouri's 1st District.
She talked to us about all of the obstacles she has overcome and why she works so hard and never gives up. She encouraged us to use our voices and power to bring about change in our community. She said God is the reason why she is where she is today.
That resonated with me because without God’s love and guidance, I don’t know where any of us would be. God wants all of his children to prosper, and no matter how hard times get He will always make a way for us.
My overall takeaways from her speech was that we should never give up and that we should always stand up for what we believe in, even if we’re standing alone. It motivated me to hear her tell us about all the hardships she faced and how she didn’t allow those obstacles to stop her.
Something else that stuck with me was her telling us: “The sky is not your limit.” Cori’s words opened up my eyes and showed me that I can make a change right here in my community.
At Cardinal Ritter College Prep, we work diligently to come together and make a difference. After hearing those inspiring words from Cori Bush, the students and faculty got together into breakout groups to brainstorm what needs to be changed in our community, and we came up with an Action Plan. Our Action Plan consists of five main categories: businesses, community, education, health care, and justice.
Regarding businesses, we voiced that we need more job opportunities, as well as small business funding, higher minimum wage, and more Black-owned businesses in the inner city.
As far as our community, we need more recreational centers/ clubs for the youth, community events, road work and restored vacant homes.
In the area of education, we believe there is a need for better resources in public schools, more after-school programs, equal funding for education, and more scholarships for minorities.
Health care also plays a key role in the well-being of our community, and a lot of people in our area don’t have proper resources. Things like mental health services, free clinics, rehabilitation centers for those who have committed minor offenses, urgent care clinics, mental health facilities, and more Black-owned nursing homes, would help improve health care in our area.
Lastly, to improve, we believe that we must have a better justice system. Improved police training, felon forgiveness programs that help people better themselves, prison reform, crime prevention initiatives, and de-escalation programs would play a key role in bettering our community.
These changes would make a big difference and help unite us as one. They may not happen overnight, but I know we can work hard to make an impact. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” As Cardinal Ritter students, we will continue to strive for positive change within our community and outside of our community.